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Bandaid and medicine

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muels

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Not sure what's going on. Here's the story; I've brewed a ton of successful beers. Stouts, porters, pale ales, cream ales, IPAs, blondes. I've had 2 blondes and a wheat that have had a slight bandaid/medicine taste and smell. Recipe and process below.

1st blonde: BMs centennial blonde. 5 gallon, pot and cooler. Grocery store RO water. AG, natch sparge, Immersion chiller. US05. Ferm control (fridge with controller) at 62 ambient for 5 days then up to 69 ambient. Smelled and tasted off flavor at 2 weeks, left 2 more. Still there. Kegged, and hoped for the best..terrible.

2nd blonde: same stats but used the bigger system. 10 gallon with pumps and plate chiller. Same ferm temps and timeline.

Just did an American wheat: 5 gallon system but used the plate chiller. Still grocery store RO water.
5lbs 2 row
4.5lbs white wheat
8 oz Munich 10
Mash at 152
.5 oz NB at 60 min
.25 oz Cent. At 20
.25 oz Cent. At 5 min
1056 slurry from a pale ale. Used a starter.
Same ferm schedule as above.
*edit - weird Krausen on this one, thin small flakes floating. Looked like fish food lol.

Smelled and tasted horrible when I kegged it. Not nearly as bad now. Drinking it but it is still faint.

Thought it may be a lighter beer thing that I was masking in IPAs and darker beers but I've made the above recipes multiple other times with no issues. Also just made the cream of three crops recipe and it's excellent (for what it is). That's the lightest I've ever made.

Any thoughts?

Let me know if I left off any pertinent info.
 
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muels

muels

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Using RO water, bought 20 gallons at once last time from the same machine. Used 10 on the Cream of 3 crops and 10 on the wheat. Wheat had the taste, cream of the crops did not.

Not saying it's not possible, just unlikely.
 

Gavin C

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Using RO water, bought 20 gallons at once last time from the same machine. Used 10 on the Cream of 3 crops and 10 on the wheat. Wheat had the taste, cream of the crops did not
Then disregard my post. Best of luck figuring it out. (assumes the RO water in the store is from a correctly functioning RO system)

A TDS meter is a cheap way to make sure you're getting what you think you are.
 
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muels

muels

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Is it possible to have those issues with the water machines? It's still just municipal water but treated right?
 

Gavin C

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If the RO source is sound there will be no problems with chlorine/chloramine in the water as they are removed upstream of the RO membrane usually via an appropriately sized carbon block filter.

There should be no chlorine/chloramine in RO water from a store.
 

dmtaylor

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Yeah, I don't know if RO takes out chlorites or chloramines. You need carbon filtration for that.

Or add the Campden and you'll never have this problem again. 1/4 tab per 5 gallons.
 

MFWINZLOW

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Using RO water, bought 20 gallons at once last time from the same machine. Used 10 on the Cream of 3 crops and 10 on the wheat. Wheat had the taste, cream of the crops did not.

Not saying it's not possible, just unlikely.
Wheat beers are horrible in my opinion.
Blame the wheat.
It is easy to do...'cause its horrible.
 

specharka

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It's most likely an infection. I had a similar problem in my secondary. Nasty band aid aroma and some weird krausen formed with tan flecks that looked like fish food. Obviously I can't be sure but I suspected S. diastaticus to be the culprit.

Bleach bomb everything (including transfer equipment) and try again.
 

ajdelange

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Not sure what's going on. Here's the story; I've brewed a ton of successful beers. Stouts, porters, pale ales, cream ales, IPAs, blondes. I've had 2 blondes and a wheat that have had a slight bandaid/medicine taste and smell. Recipe and process below.
Those words are the classical description of chlorphenolics but to me chlrophenloics smell more like plastic in particular the way polystyrene smells when it is machined or heated. A 'medicinal' smell is more suggestive of phenolics in general. All plant material contains some (which is why you must keep chlorine (not chloride) out of the beer but even in total absence of chlorine the phenolics can read their sometimes ugly heads but in some cases (wheat beers) that flavor is sought. Yeast that express the POF (Phenolic Off Flavor) gene will produce noticeable phenolic flavors in your beer. If you are doing a wheat beer you seek a yeast that has this gene. If you are not you avoid such yeasts like the plague. As the only strains that you can buy which have it are wheat strains it is most likely that a phenolic tasting beer has been infected with a wild strain. This focuses attention on sanitation, of course.

While on the subject of sanitation, we should mention that chlorine can make its way into the mash tun even when RO water is being used if said mash tun (or other equipment) has been sanitized with a chlorine based sanitizer that has not been completely rinsed off. If you have ever used hypochlorite based sanitizer (Clorox, Javelle...) you know how persistent chlorine can be. It will eventually fly off but it can take a long time (hours; over night).

Then there is always the possibility that store bought RO water has had hypochlorite added to it to stabilize it. If that is the case (and I've never heard of that being done) you would smell chlorine in the water. You could run a chlorine test (from an aquarium supplier) to check for this.

I'm not, of course, really sure what's going on either but there are a couple of thoughts for you.
 

oceanic_brew

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I had two beers in a row taste like bandaid. One was smash marris/falconer one was a smash Vienna/glacier. Used two different yeasts on both and both were brewing side by side in glass carboys.

They both had the exact same taste but showed no other signs of infection. I bottled both with some bottles having more of the off flavor than others but none producing bottle bombs.


Some of the possible culprits:

Twice a year here the city flushes the system with higher amounts of chlorine. I may have brewed these during one of those times and I do now remember filling HLT and having an overwhelming odor of chlorine but I did not document well back then.

Normally there isn't enough odor to detect chlorine so I do not treat my water for it.

Up until this point I used diversol (pink chlorinated from LHBS) to clean everything. I rinsed well but it's really hard to get this stuff off and I believe that coupled with the higher chlorine content from the city's flush might have been just enough

So that's my conclusion now but at the time I thought infection and just cleaned everything as normal. I did change from diversol to PBW and did a real good cleaning on all equipment.

Here's where things got a little tricky... My next two batches I had full on lacto (I think) infections with pellicles. Completely different odor and taste and both of these dried the beer out and were monsters. Both were in different fermenters from the two with the bandaid. I have since narrowed this down to both of those fermenters being extremely scratched.

As much as I believed at the time that I had 4 beers infected in a row I now am pretty confident that it was just a coincidence and if I ever smell the Chlorine again I will handle it immediately.


I got rid of all my plastic in the brew room and changed to Oxyclean and haven't had a bad batch since!
 

Yesfan

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^^^ Are you still using the PBW or did you switch from it to Oxyclean when you switched initially from Diversol? If so, what made you do a second change?


A question about the Campden tabs. Since one tablet is enough for 20 gallons, could I put back the excess treated water away in a (sanitized) carboy(s) and just use what I need for the current Brew Day and the remainder for the next Brew Day?


I've also read where one could collect the water the day before Brew Day and let it sit overnight, with the lid on. The next morning if you smell a strong chlorine smell after removing the lid, then it's more or less evaporated from the water. Is that true?
 

chickypad

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It's most likely an infection. I had a similar problem in my secondary. Nasty band aid aroma and some weird krausen formed with tan flecks that looked like fish food. Obviously I can't be sure but I suspected S. diastaticus to be the culprit.

Bleach bomb everything (including transfer equipment) and try again.
Agreed. You ruled out the water with RO so it's likely wild yeast or other infection. May even want to replace plastic hoses, siphons, etc.

Wheat beers are horrible in my opinion.
Blame the wheat.
It is easy to do...'cause its horrible.
It's not the wheat, it's the German hefe yeast that does this. Wheat malt with neutral yeast will not cause phenolic flavors, and the OP was using 1056.
 

dmtaylor

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A question about the Campden tabs. Since one tablet is enough for 20 gallons, could I put back the excess treated water away in a (sanitized) carboy(s) and just use what I need for the current Brew Day and the remainder for the next Brew Day??
Yes.

I've also read where one could collect the water the day before Brew Day and let it sit overnight, with the lid on. The next morning if you smell a strong chlorine smell after removing the lid, then it's more or less evaporated from the water. Is that true?
No, I wouldn't recommend that. The lid will actually prevent chlorine from escaping. Anyway, evaporation only works with hypochlorite, not chloramine, so you would need to find out for sure which means of chlorination your water uses. If chloramine, it won't work at all. Campden is still your best bet in either case.
 

ajdelange

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A question about the Campden tabs. Since one tablet is enough for 20 gallons, could I put back the excess treated water away in a (sanitized) carboy(s) and just use what I need for the current Brew Day and the remainder for the next Brew Day?
Yes, I suppose so as long as the next brew day is reasonably soon. But campden tablets are cheap. I'd just cut them in half (if treating 10 gal) and save the other half if you are a Scotty or toss it if not. Remember that the 1 tablet per 20 gal is calculated based on the maximum allowable chloramine level in water (at least I think that's how I did it) and you may need less. The best way to do this would be to get a total chlorine test kit from an aquarium supply store, crush and dissolve a campden tablet in a volume of water and 'titrate'. IOW, add as much campden solution as it takes to reduce the chlorine content in your water to 0 and scale that finding to the amount of water you need to treat.


I've also read where one could collect the water the day before Brew Day and let it sit overnight, with the lid on. The next morning if you smell a strong chlorine smell after removing the lid, then it's more or less evaporated from the water. Is that true?
One can test for chlorine/chloramine by allowing a glassful of water to stand overnight uncovered. This will allow any free chlorine to escape. Next morning you pour the water into another glass with your nose right next to it. If you still smell chlorine, there is still chlorine in the form of chloramine in your water. A total/free test is, of course, more reliable but in general if you can't detect any chlorine smell the next day you will be OK.

Now common sense says you need to let the water sit uncovered so the Cl2 has a chance to escape. Common sense also says that you could speed the clearance by sparging with air or spraying the water back into its storage vessel with a pump and spray head of some sort. OTOH I knew a commercial operation that cleared chlorine adequately by doing nothing but leaving it overnight in an (obviously) closed hot water heater.
 
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